Cats are mysterious and unpredictable creatures. If you have a pet cat at home, chances are, you have already witnessed their unexplained and curious behavior from time to time leaving you completely baffled.

One of the many things that cat owners often wonder and get spooked by is when they see their cats staring at an empty wall without moving an inch of their body for hours. For these highly spirited animals, this is highly an unlikely thing to do. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and questioned yourself, ‘Why is my cat staring at the wall at this hour?’  Or ‘What is it that’s making them behave in this peculiar way?’ Let’s find out!

Funny rufous cat looking up

An Acute Vision

In comparison to humans, cats have a superior vision. While the human eyes allow us a 180-degree view, these feline creatures have been gifted with eyes that offer a 200-degree view. In addition to that, their peripheral vision is also known to span out far and wide.

Cats are also quick to respond to low lighting due to their increased number of rod cells which lets them have clearer views at night with the help of special tissues that gather additional light. That would probably be why they are so good at detecting movements even in low lighting.

However, cats lose their edge when it comes to colored vision. Unlike humans, they are unable to perceive a massive variety of colors. This would be due to the diminished number of cones in their retina commonly known as photoreceptor cells. These receptors function best in bright light so it can be concluded that cats do not see much color during the day.

Since they have such a keen vision, they are able to spot even the slightest of movements in their surroundings. Hence, the next time you see your cat staring at an empty wall, it might be due to the presence of a small insect (bugs, bees etc.) climbing up the wall. They can even see dust particles in the air during broad daylight and stare at it for as long as they can, trying to detect any possible movement. While this may be negligible to the human eye, it is very much visible to our felines.

Audibility

Apart from having an acute eyesight, cats have the ability to listen to high pitched sounds that humans are unable to hear. While humans have an audible range of 20 Hz to 20 KHz, cats on the other hand have a range of 55 Hz to 79 KHz. Hence, if there is a sudden noise in your house in the middle of the night, your cat is always the first one to wake up.

Nowadays people who stay alone at home often sleep next to their pet cats to stay safe at night since they are capable of detecting low pitched sounds and can instantly alert them by pawing or calling them out in case something goes wrong. They are also capable of chasing rats inside the house even when they are unable to see them because of their powerful hearing ability.

So if you ever end up spotting your cat staring at nothing in the corner of a dark room, do not get spooked out. They are probably listening to the slow music coming from your neighbor’s house. You never know!

Curiosity

You are probably aware by now that cats are very curious and anxious pets with an erratic personality. One second they are sitting next to you enjoying a television show and the very next second they run off to a different room only to stare at a wall for hours. It is the curiosity that gives them the patience to look at things for hours.

Thing is, they pay attention to the slightest detail inside the room and are aware when something is misplaced within seconds after entering the room. Hence they often stand outside the room staring at nothing trying to figure out what has been replaced in their absence.

Every cat owner has experienced this strange phenomenon once in their life wondering what could have gone wrong after receiving the deadly stare from their pet.

cat looking at wall

Supernatural Beings

Even though it is the 21st century, a lot of people still believe in the presence of ghosts and other supernatural beings like vampires, demons etc. While 99% of the people would beg to differ this, a certain group of people still believe that cats can sense the presence of super natural beings. In fact, that might be their only reason for staring at a single spot inside a dark or dimly lit room in your house.

However, you should know that there is no such proof till date that confirms the existence of such supernatural beings living among us. But if you are a believer, this might actually be the case indeed. Otherwise, there is really nothing to be scared about.

A Medical Problem

If you ever see your feline acting out or showing a deranged behavior while staring at the walls in between seizures, chances are he/she is suffering from a medical condition known as the ‘feline hyperesthesia syndrome.’

Though rare, hyperesthesia is seen in cats every once in a while causing them to suffer from anxiety and manifesting a self-destructive behavior in front of others. Their skin becomes sensitive to touch and they end up licking and grooming themselves repeatedly.

Even after years of research, doctors still haven’t been able to identify the actual cause of hyperesthesia in felines. Some believe it may be a repercussion of a traumatic event that took place in the past causing the cat to act out, while others believe it is only a neurological disorder. There is also a good chance that it might be due to a spinal injury, an abnormality of the nerves in the brain or increased stress levels.

However, if you see them itching their skin every once in a while, you should ask the doctor to examine them properly to see if they have been affected by flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). You should be aware that flea allergy can also cause their fur to fall off if scratched aggressively. Scratching and itching continuously will aggravate the condition of the skin and your cat will get paranoid. Seek the doctor right away if the itching persists for a long period of time.

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Having an unbalanced diet can also be a cause of hyperesthesia. Visit an animal nutritionist and ask them to make a proper balanced diet for your cat for prevention.

Himalayan, Siamese and Burmese breeds have more chances of suffering from hyperesthesia than the others.

Symptoms of Hyperesthesia in Felines:

  • Biting
  • Scratching itself
  • Constant jerking as they become sensitive to touch
  • Showing self-destruction
  • Self-grooming and licking
  • Anxiety
  • Pouncing on its tail
  • Alarming vocalization
  • Dilation of the pupils
  • Acting out
  • Seizure disorders
  • A sudden increase in their activity
  • Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD)
  • Unbalanced Diet

Cat sitting looking at a brick wall

Treatment for Hyperesthesia:

If you ever see your cat showing signs of any of the symptoms listed above, you should take him/her to a vet immediately. Anti-depressants like SSRIs, sedatives or anti-anxiety medicines are usually prescribed by doctors in such cases. Take the help of an expert to make a diet chart for them so that they stay healthy and are free from physiologic and metabolic stress.

In order to prevent them from events like this in the future, try to spend more time with them because you may not know when your cat is stressed out and facing anxiety issues. So rather than panicking in situations like these, get in touch with a vet without a seconds thought because they will know how to cure your furry friend and take actions immediately.

Cats Staring At Nothing

Most cat owners are unnerved to find their cats staring at walls and other specific objects. But what do you make of their behavior when they stare at nothing for a significant period of time? With their mystical and mysterious auras, many find this matter quite alarming. The superstitious may even suggest that these feline creatures, attuned to the supernatural world, are observing something of the same world!

However, having established that cats are well-accustomed to our surroundings with their superior eyesight and hearing, there is no doubt that this matter is nothing otherworldly. While we often find ourselves staring at space for hours, lost in our thoughts, the matter is a bit different with cats. If your pet is showing such errant behavior, know that it has an explanation.

As mentioned above, cats have eyesight that surpasses those of humans in many ways. So if you feel that he or she is staring at ‘nothing’ for hours, it indeed means that your pet is actually seeing or observing movements or minuscule things that go undetected by the human eye. This is merely because our eyes aren’t as keen as theirs, not because of the existence of something unnatural that is not visible to us.

Another thing which we can take into account is that cats have excellent auditory organs which allow them to perceive sounds beyond our own capabilities. So the matter may be as simple as them focusing on sounds that are slightly muffled or out of their hearing range while staring at nothing much like human beings often do. If not that, they may be trying to decipher a new sound that is alien to them but also inaudible for us. Or they are probably fascinated by those dancing particles visible in broad daylight!

Not only do cats have superior hearing and eyesight, they have also been gifted with a sense of smell that is fourteen times stronger than human beings. This is due to the doubled quantity of receptors in the olfactory epithelium which are basically the cells responsive to smell.

Just like focusing on sounds, it is highly possible that your feline companion has noticed a smell that he or she particularly likes or finds intriguing and is spending an awful lot of time trying to discern its origin or is simply enjoying the odor while gazing at ‘nothing’. Even if you are unable to smell it yourself, it may help to spray air fresheners or other products to drive away the former odor.

Bottom Line

Always remember, that it is important for you to make your feline creatures feel safe at home. Like any other pet animals, they too crave for your attention and love. Even after a busy day at work, when you go back home, try to make up for day by playing or cuddling with them. A little bit of love goes a long way for these adorable yet unpredictable creatures. Therefore try to spend time with them regularly for a certain period of time to make sure your cat is healthy and happy.

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It is necessary for both parties to interact with each other because leaving cats alone for hours will make them feel lonely and the feeling of loneliness is likely to stress them out. And as you already know, stressing them out would mean that you would have to put in more efforts in order to calm them down and prevent them from acting out afterwards.

But in all honesty, you won’t ever really get a proper explanation to why they keep on staring at the wall for hours. You can only make possible guesses and calm yourself down. However, if you ever feel like you need to consult an expert, make a trip to the vet’s clinic with your fur baby. It is better to stay safe than to worry afterwards.

Sources:

  1. Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome – Wikipedia
  2. Treating Feline Hyperesthesia – PetMD
Olivia Williams
Olivia is our head of content for MyPetNeedsThat.com, mum of one and a true animal lover. With 12 different types of animal in her family, it's never a dull moment. When she isn't walking the dogs, feeding the cats or playing with her pet Parrot Charlie, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest products for your pets!

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